An Important Difference Between ANSI 117.1 2003 and 2009

There are many accessibility standards for dwelling units in multifamily construction and these requirements typically come from ANSI 117.1.  There are currently two versions of ANSI that are widely used, 2003 and 2009.  Whether your project is under the 2003 or 2009 version depends on the currently adopted codes in the city where the project is located.  For the most part, the ANSI accessibility requirements for dwelling units remain fairly constant with only some minor revisions between versions.  However, there is one difference between 2003 and 2009 seems to come up over and over again in multifamily projects.

In both versions, there is the same section (1004.5.1) that requires the primary entrance door to have the typical pull and push side clearances for accessibility.  But in the 2003 version, there is an exception that allows the inside of the primary entrance door to be exempt from this requirement.  So only the outside of the door is required to have the necessary push or pull side clearance in 2003 ANSI.  Eliminating this interior clearance can free up some square footage on the inside of the unit.  And in multifamily design, every inch counts.  While this isn’t necessarily a loophole in the code, it is a nuance between the two versions that should be considered when designing dwelling units in a multifamily complex. As always, consult with an expert architect on your project who can help sort out the codes.


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